Finding the Truth – research methods in biomedical science. V Meta –analysis

What is meta-analysis? Individual intervention trials may not be large enough to produce a statistically definitive answer or different trials investigating a particular intervention may not always produce the same results. Meta-analysis is a statistical tool that allows researchers to get a consensus by combining together trials that are essentially similar to produce what is…

Obesity – the brown fat story

  This post was triggered by my recent post on the role of in vitro and animals experiments in biomedical research. It is offered as another example of how data from animal experiments, if uncritically applied to people, can lead to false beliefs about human biology. Overview In the late 1970s and 1980s, the notion that…

Finding the Truth – research methods in the biomedical sciences. IV Experiments with people

General design aims of human experimental studies The key difference between these experimental studies and the observational studies described in the second post in this series is that in these studies investigators decide which subjects are allocated to control and test groups and determine the level of exposure to whatever intervention is being tested e.g.…

Finding the Truth – research methods in the biomedical sciences. III – In vitro and animal experiments

This post is concerned with all experiments that do not involve the use of living people. In vitro experiments are literally those done “in glass” although in practice many experimental vessels these days are actually made of plastic. This category includes experiments done with micro-organisms, isolated cells, cell-free systems like broken cells or isolated enzymes…

Finding the Truth – methods in biomedical research. II – Observational and epidemiological methods

Types of observational approaches In this first section there is a brief explanation of some of the observational approaches used by biomedical scientists with simple illustrative examples. Geographical comparisons Differences in some aspect of the environment, lifestyle or diet of several populations are related to their death rates or incidence of a particular disease or…

What makes superfoods super?

Introduction According to Professor David Bender the concept of superfoods was developed in the USA in 2003-4 and introduced into Britain in an article in the Daily Mail in December 2005 entitled “The top 10 super foods”. Superfood is an informal designation and so there is no precise definition or definitive list of superfoods. If…